Crickets… U.S. Universities Ignore ASA’s Call for Academic Boycott of Israel

by Nathan Harden - Fix Editor on December 23, 2013

Chirp, chrip.

That’s the sound of the nation responding to the American Studies Association’s call for an academic boycott of Israel. The national council of the ASA recently passed a resolution in favor of the boycott, and passed it along for a vote among its members.

The ongoing movement to institute a boycott on Israeli academic institutions has gained some support, particularly in Europe. And the plight of the Palestinians is the most commonly cited rationale for the so-called “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions” (BDS) movement. But BDS advocates never seem to explain why Israel, of all nations, should be uniquely singled out for an academic boycott purely for political reasons. Why, for instance, don’t BDS supporters suggest academic boycotts for other nations whose politics they detest? Why only Israel? Nor are they able to explain such political boycotts mesh with the idea of academic freedom.

The good news is, so far, no American universities have agreed to join in the boycott. That’s zero, zip, zilch. Arutz Sheva reports:

No universities or colleges are known to have endorsed the boycott of Israeli academic institutions declared by the American Studies Association a week ago, thus far. Dozens have rejected it.

According to William A. Jacobson, a professor of law at Cornell Law School, the universities and colleges below are confirmed to reject the academic boycott of Israel passed by the American Studies Association.

This list is based on positions expressed by the presidents of the universities or other official spokespersons.

These are in addition to the Association of American Universities, the umbrella organization for 62 major universities and university-systems, and the Association of American University Professors, both of which reject the boycott. Brandeis and Penn State were the first to announce that they reject the boycott…

It’s comforting to know that the advocates of academic censorship have failed so far to convince even the hard-left academic world of the worth of their anti-Israeli cause.

The fact that no other university or professional American academic institution of note has endorsed this endeavor only serves to make the American Studies Association look all the more foolish for its effort to discriminate against Israeli scholars and universities.

You have to wonder: Who made the American Studies Association the arbiter of Israeli-Palestinian relations to begin with?

Perhaps the ASA should take the rejection of its boycott call as a clue to leave off all future pompous grandstanding on great issues of international relations. Perhaps the American Studies Association should take this national shunning as a clue to get back to doing work that has something to do with “American Studies.”

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanHarden

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